I opened a box of clothes from the loft last week that said, “Boys 5-6”. While I was delighted to find a checked shirt for my little boy to wear to Farmer’s Day at school, I was surprised to find a bag of very small baby clothes. I have given away and passed on the vast majority of my children’s old clothes. We are not having any more babies – we don’t need the clothes. So why have I still got these ones?
Why can’t I let them go?
I think I have three bags like this, hidden away in the loft in the middle of boxes. If I think hard enough, I can justify away why I have kept them: most people get 0-3 month baby clothes as presents and don’t need my daughter’s old ones.
That isn’t the real reason, though. If I’m honest with myself, I’m not ready to let them go. It is not because I always imagined we would have three children, it is more that the time around my daughter’s birth is imprinted on my memory forever.
In my memory forever
I think most women’s recollections of those early days are imprinted on their memories. I was talking with a group of ladies who are in their 70s and 80s this week, and they were able to recall very small details of what happened around the time their children were born. Most memories have softened around the edges a little – if they didn’t, I guess a lot of families would only have one child.
Perhaps it was because the end of my pregnancy was not as I would have liked, and caring for an early, tiny baby was filled with such challenges that I’m not ready to give her clothes away. It’s funny – I have offered her premature clothes to a couple of people, then couldn’t find them. I now can’t bear the thought of parting with them.
I think some of it may be wrapped up in guilt. I’d been so poorly, I was delighted when they needed to get my baby out early. I wasn’t so worried about what an impact an early birth might have on her. When I was told she was holding her cord, and that’s why she had stopped moving, I was grateful for the release.
My tiny little girl is now a giant 9 year old, weighing over 30 kg. She’s nearly as tall as me. She is amazing. She is so funny and has the best memory of anyone I know. To look at her, you wouldn’t know that she had such a difficult start in life. She behaves like any other 9-year-old I know.
She is amazing
Considering she has had her challenges as a result of my illness, she always looks on the bright side of life. She finds the good in every situation. I have learnt so much from her. And she jokes about how there was no more room left in my womb, so she pulled the emergency cord.
I’m not sure if I can ever give those clothes away. They are somehow part of me and my life experience now. My memories have become a little softer around the edges, but some things I will never forget. And I hope to make this world a tiny bit better by supporting others who have gone through such a time.
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Photos in the main body of text – copyright Becky Jarratt